Thursday, 7 January 2010

Patch tick!

Sorry I have neglected this blog once again, but it's been a tad mad around here. I also, foolishly, decided to have a 'net detox over Christmas, which meant it took me ages to catch up afterwards. I have been out lots however, in part to just escape it all, and from 1st January to kick start my patch list. I started with a 2 hour walk in Margravine Cemetery where I managed to find all residents apart from Wren and Greenfinch. I did see a Greenfinch later that day but it took a few more days before I managed to find a Wren. I also managed to find the Coal Tit which was nice as I had not seen it for a while, and I found it in the exact conifer I'd been hoping to find it. And the Redwings were still there, or at least some were, as on New Year's Eve I saw at least 80 of them advancing on the grass like an army, which was quite impressive as the cemetery is not that big!
An unexpected tick by the cemetery that day was a Common Gull, standing on the Woodpecker's aerial on the estate, i.e. the one the Great Spotted Woodpecker drums on in the Spring becoming the talk of the neighbourhood.
The female Peregrine made an appearance around lunchtime, sunning herself, making it 21 for that day. Until the Greenfinch which made it 22 for the first day, on a par with last year albeit with a few different birds.

The next day, being a Saturday morning, I did my usual Thames Path walk and added a few more birds to make it 35 with most of the usual suspects. The most notable thing was that I saw a third adult Great Black-Backed Gull as well as the usual pair, which are currently very busy courting, or at least I assume that's what all this 'barking' is about. A few days previously I could hear them, but just couldn't locate them, until I looked on top of Harrods Depository: they were on top of the flagpoles!

On Sunday 3rd, I was checking if Redwings were still around in the cemetery, and they were making it the start of their 4th week, when 2 Egyptian Geese flew over, a first for me in Margravine, & making it #36.

An early morning visit to the Thames on Tuesday morning allowed me to add Shelduck with one feeding by Crabtree Wharf, not unusual at this time of year, but not that frequent either. Nothing else out of the ordinary, except maybe a few more Gadwalls than previously this winter. I have unfortunately not been able to go and check again since then, but I'm hoping to early tomorrow. We'll see. I finally added Wren for this year as I was almost home, making it #41.

Then yesterday, we were promised some more snow, so I thought I'd go and get some milk before then, and check Margravine Cemetery at the same time. Got to Barons Court having found a few Redwings. I was trying to check them from a distance so as not to disturb them, I shouldn't have bothered, dog walkers do it anyway. The corner shop didn't have any milk so I backtracked and crossed the cemetery again to go to Fulham Palace Road. As I was about half way through, I heard an unusual sound high above in a tree: a Fieldfare! At long last! A patch tick! Grabbed my camera, tried some record shots, but conditions were appalling, and it was just starting to snow quite heavily. Thankfully, it flew over to another tree closer to me, where I managed some slightly better shots.

I also decided to take a record-video. Pretty crappy quality and I wouldn't have bothered putting it up if it wasn't for the goldfinch behind:

I have seen them do it between themselves too, is it threat or courtship? But, in this case, it made me think of these passers by in the background who make faces at the camera when someone is interviewed or talking in the foreground. Might be just me, but I find it funny...

That was #42, and #43 came today in the shape of a Kestrel hovering over the hospital.
A pity the Skylark I saw on the foreshore by the supermarket this afternoon wasn't on my patch, but it was nice nevertheless...

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